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January 17, 2009 / davebirss

How come I missed this?

This T-mobile event/TV ad/thing happened 5 minutes walk from my flat 48 hours ago –  but I knew nothing about it.

Not sure how I feel about it though. On one hand I like that fact that they’re trying to do something different. On the other, I’m kind of disappointed that the ‘different’ thing they’re doing isn’t very original. It’s just an overly produced flashmob and this level of production feels as if it’s betraying the spirit of flashmobs in some way. But I think that’s probably just me being fussy!

However, as much as I don’t really like it, I think the approach is great. I’m sure it’s done a hell of a lot more for T-mobile than a traditional TV ad ever could. It’s had a life in the real world where it touched lots of people, it lived on TV where it surprised people and now it lives online. Most importantly, it’s started lots of conversations. And that’s a media space that’s pretty difficult to buy.


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  1. Mark Carolan / Jan 19 2009 8:51 am

    Dave, was the reason you blogged Tony Hart in the first place because you saw him in the T-Mobile film (1m 40s) or because he just died over the weekend? Or is this just one big bizarre roadmap coincidence?


  2. Sam / Jan 19 2009 12:37 pm

    I love this, it’s just the kind of fun everyone needs at the moment. Just a shame it was for T-mobile. I think we ought to start having random sing a longs in public places as part of an effort to cheer everyone up a bit.

  3. jolene / Jan 22 2009 10:38 am

    I loved this ad – it made me feel good (but then my favourite film is Ferris Beullers Day Off)
    Dave – you are just TOO clever, and luckily this ad is aimed at the average person on the street, like me, who doesn;t think as much as other people, like you…

  4. Damien Parsonage / Jan 27 2009 4:36 pm

    This seems to have sparked off much debate in the advertising world Dave.

    And it certainly raises a lot of key questions about originality and the popular appeal of work. The professional view versus the public’s view.

    My view (as a professional I suppose) is that it’s very derivative and a bit old hat. The flash mob thing has been done again and again – and much better in my view – with at least three examples on YouTube of this type of ‘event’ at Liverpool Street station. even used it in an ad last year. Executionally, it also falls a bit flat for me, because there seem to be way too many stooges and not nearly enough “real” people joining in.

    So, from my perspective, it fails the “professional” test; unoriginal and not that well executed.

    But the public absolutely loves it. It’s had about 2 million hits on YouTube, loads of mentions on blogs everywhere – almost all positive except for comments by professionals on professional blogs.

    There’s a massive disconnect here isn’t there? The general public couldn’t care less whether an idea is original or not. They just like it and enjoy it. So why are we so obsessed with originality?

    The great Ogilvy himself stated that appropriateness is far more important than originality in advertising. But then he was a salesman, more concerned with actually selling things than pretending he was an artist.

    Perhaps it’s time for us to drop our originality mania?

  5. james / Feb 8 2009 10:31 am

    one of my things about this is that other mobile brands have been caning this sharing/connected territory for ages.

    “i am who i am…” does exactly the same thing in a different tone of voice, for example. “make the most of now” (the best of these for my money, because of its flexibility) comes at it from a different angle, but it gets there in the end.

    loads of people i know love it. and it’s true that the only negatives seem to be coming from advertising-type peeps.

    but maybe as a former t-mobile customer as well as a professional i reckon it’s the worst kind of tell-rather-than-show advertising. none of the products or services i came into contact with stack up against this experience…put all of the above next to the iphone, which as a product doesn’t need advertising or anything else to do the shouting for it.

    still, like you say dave, it’s the approach rather than the creative, that’s worth it. full marks to t-mobile as a client for having the courage to try it.

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